For at least the second time, an Air Force brochure that told victims of sexual assault “it may be advisable to submit than resist” has made it into a Hollywood story line.
Season 2 of “House of Cards” — Netflix’s blockbuster political drama released Feb. 14 — takes on the familiar topic of sexual assault in the military. There is a watershed moment when the issue makes national headlines followed by calls for reform to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Some want moderate changes and others call for a total overhaul — including an independent justice system.
Those in favor of an overhaul make their point with a brochure disseminated by the military advising victims to submit to a sexual assault rather than resist.
A November episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” also took on sexual assault in the military, including a scene where prosecutors reference a pamphlet giving the same advice.
Such a brochure actually existed in the Air Force.
Last May, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., sent a copy of it to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, saying its contents blamed the victim and sent an inappropriate message.
A month later, the Air Force withdrew the brochure.
Season 2 of “House of Cards” mirrors an ongoing argument in Congress over just how sweeping changes to the UCMJ should be — including whether sexual assault complaints and subsequent investigations and prosecutions should be handled by an independent judicial system made up of military lawyers.
I’ll keep the details of the episodes — including how the hoopla began — under wraps for now in case you haven’t watched.